After weeks of speculation and percentages of whether he was staying or going, all signs point to Neymar leaving Barcelona for Paris-Saint Germain.
Both Catalan papers, Mundo Deportivo and Sport, have reported that Neymar has already said his goodbyes to teammates. Barcelona, on the other hand have issued their own statement in regards to the transfer.
In their statement, Barcelona remain steadfast in that they will only accept full payment of Neymar’s release clause.
This marks the first time since the Figo saga that Barcelona have had one of their players taken away. As expected, the reaction to this news has triggered mixed reactions. However, the resounding one is that fans are glad that this is finally over.
While there is little Barcelona can do to stop the transfer, La Liga and Javier Tebas have stated that they will not accept the money from PSG to activate Neymar’s release clause.
It remains to be seen exactly what the LFP can do to stop the transfer. The only thing they can resort to is UEFA’s Financial Fair Play. But if PSG sell some of their players, then that should be a non-factor. The LFP can posture as much as they want but there is very little chance that they can actually stop the transfer from going through.
This marks an important moment in club football. Rarely do you see a player force a move away from arguably the biggest club in the world. When players do move, it is usually to a side of eqaul caliber or higher. Neymar is taking a step down to join PSG who play in a less competitive league with less notoriety.
If one of the motivating factors in leaving is because he wants a shot at winning a Ballon d’Or, joining PSG isn’t going to help him in that cause. Sure, he’ll be the main focus but if Messi and Ronaldo continue to be Messi and Ronaldo, they’ll still be seen as better in the eyes of many because they’ll be doing their thing in a better league. Which is why I think it definitely has to do with money. PSG are set to make him one of the highest paid players in the world. Equivalent to what Messi makes with Barcelona. His father, Neymar Sr., is also set to receive a hefty bonus for his role in the negotiations.
An extra side-effect of this deal is that PSG’s Qatari owners, can parade Neymar around and make him an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup being held in Qatar. He’ll be their public face as they try to drum up goodwill and distract people from the various reports of slave labor used to construct their stadiums.
All that remains on Barcelona’s side is to efficiently use the Neymar money to find suitable replacements. They are not going to find someone that will be able to replace Neymar this season. He is in the prime of his career and whoever they bring in will take time to adapt to Barcelona.
Reports have linked Barcelona to Liverpool’s Coutinho but it’s unclear whether he’s being signed as a midfielder or to play on the left wing. Other names being thrown about are Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele and Juventus’ Paulo Dybala. Personally, I would forget about Coutinho and go for Dembele and Monaco’s Mbappe. They’re both really young and they would be long-term signings.
In the end if you do not want to be a Barcelona player then you should leave. For many, Neymar’s silence throughout the whole ordeal has been borderline infuriating. He should have made his intentions clear one way or another. Instead of fans being sad that he’s leaving, today’s news brought more of a sense of relief.
I wish no ill-will towards Neymar. He’s no longer a Barcelona player so his exploits with PSG will not concern me. Barcelona still have the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, and that’s good enough for me.